In your box:
- Endive Escarole
- Gooseberries (just a sample)
- Potatoes (“Yukon Gold”)
- Summer squash
- Tomato (full shares)
This week brings us a couple new crops as we transition into the typical veggies of summer. The first is just a tease, but we have a meager handful of Gooseberries from our young plants that I wanted you to try. These have no pit or chunky seeds, and they have the texture of a grape with the flavor of raspberries (my take, at least). Some of them can be quite sour, but most are nice and sweet. I have planted 60 of these all around the farm, and once they all start bearing I’ll have my hands full with them. I am interested in your thoughts—would these be welcome in your CSA box in a year or two, or would you prefer I find another way to market them and stick with veggies for our CSA? I would aim to provide a full pint for everyone once the plants reach maturity, so there would be a decent amount to work with. Please let me know what you think—I’ll be sending out a feedback form at the end of the year but you can also e-mail me anytime with your thoughts.
Another crop with which you might not be familiar is Escarole Endive. Endive is closely related to dandelions, chicory, and radicchio, but this is my favorite member of the family. Escarole can be eaten raw in a salad, but most folks find it a little strong and you might prefer lightly wilting it or cooking it down for just a couple minutes so it becomes tender and less bitter.
We are starting to ramp up our harvest of summer squash, which is always a sure sign of summer. And just as soon as everyone gets sick of them and can’t think of anything else to do with these, we all know that fall is upon us. I try to harvest them before they get too big, but they are quite adept at hiding and sometimes get quite sizeable before I get to pick them. If you get overwhelmed with summer squash, they are easy to freeze. Just grate them with a basic cheese grater right into a freezer bag and store the mash in the freezer for up to six months. I’ve also included a recipe for chocolate zucchini cake, since concealing produce with chocolate is the easiest way to make sure it gets eaten!
In case you are wondering, there is no difference between zucchini and squash. Zucchini is just the most popular kind of summer squash. We grow green and yellow varieties of true zucchini as well as a variety called “Zephyr” that blends from yellow to green and a smaller variety called “Summer Crookneck” that is our personal favorite on the grill. To use any squash: try them as a pizza topping, chopped into a lasagna or egg dish, cooked as a kebab over the grill, or dice it into tiny pieces and hide it in just about anything else you’re cooking.
This week brings our first Potatoes of the year, which is a highlight for me. This variety is called “Yukon Gold,” and features yellow skin and flesh. This is my favorite variety for fresh eating and is also great for roasting. You can boil these for about 20-30 minutes until they become tender and then serve with salt and pepper or just a little butter. We cleaned these as best we could but they are “new” potatoes—I dug them before they were fully grown and matured for optimal taste and freshness. The only downside is that the skins are still not set and so any kind of a rigorous scrubbing can peel the skins right off. And there’s no need to remove the skins—since we don’t spray anything on our farm there are no chemicals on the surface and you can enjoy the whole spud.
Expected next week: Tomatoes, beans, endive, head lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, scallions and sweet pepper.